Objection To Commoditized Sex Essay

1638 words - 7 pages

Elizabeth Anderson makes a claim that “The attempt to sell gift value on the market makes a mockery of those values.”(Anderson 188) Anderson uses this claim to object commoditized sex (prostitution). There are two premises that Anderson uses to support her claim. The first premise being the gift value of sex cannot be realized in commercial terms and the second premise being that the gift value of sex is more significant that the use value of sex itself.
To support her first premise Anderson argues that the good of sex is realized only when each partner reciprocates the other's gift in kind, offering her own sexuality in the same spirit in which she received the other's — as a sincere offering of the self. The commoditization of sex destroys the sort of reciprocity that is required to realize human sexuality as a shared good (Anderson 188) and may corrupt non-market sexual relationships by encouraging the market worth valuation of women. Anderson invokes the idea of the value of sex being personal and shared to those involved. The value is personal as is involves the fact that those entering the act of sex recognize that they are sexually attracted to each other and establishing an intimate relationship in their mutual offering of themselves to each other. The value is also shared as the same “good” is being realized for both involved in the act of sex, it is also in the virtue of the act being shared, that there is goodness of the value. Therefore the aspects of the gift value of sex can’t be realized in commercial terms as the norms that govern the goods as impersonal and individually enjoyable. The fact that sex is the mutual offering of oneself as they recognize they are in an intimate relationship which is worth more than just the use of sex – which is to procreate or to be sexually satisfied. The offering of oneself to the other as an act in the higher spirit of the relationship shows how sex has a greater gift value than its use value.
With prostitution, the “good” being debased is sex. The lower use values of sexual activity are sexual gratification or mere procreation. The higher gift value is a shared value of mutual attraction and enjoyment, with intimacy and commitment and possibly the hope to being into the world a being that will be loved by both partners. There are many places in the world where many prostitutes are forced into prostitution and sexual slavery, against their will, at a young age. Even where others were not forced into prostitution, many choose prostitution out of economic and financial necessity, just as someone might choose to sell a kidney out of economic necessity. Many who choose prostitution find themselves working for pimps that are abusive and don't allow easy exit from the profession. In conditions like these, the sellers of sex (the prostitute) may not be acting with full freedom or with a fair opportunity to do if not. If so, there may be reasons not to acquire sex from such sellers by paying them....

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